Saturday, June 23, 2012

Baha'i World Faith: Selected Writings of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha

  • "Every discerning observer will recognize in the Dispensation of the Qur'an both the Book and the Cause of Jesus were confirmed. As to the matter of names, Muhammad, Himself, declared: 'I am Jesus.'" - Why the People Have Denied God, 15
  • "The Bearers of the Truth of God are made manifest unto the peoples of the earth as the Exponents of a new Cause and the Revealers of a new Message. Inasmuch as these Birds of the celestial Throne are all sent down from the heaven of the Will of God...they, therefore, are regarded as one soul and the same person." - Oneness of the Prophets, 21-2
  • "Beware, O believers in the Unity of God, lest ye be tempted to make any distinctions between any of the Manifestations of His Cause, or to discriminate against the signs that have accompanied and proclaimed their Revelation. This indeed is the true meaning of Divine Unity" - The Meaning of True Unity, 27
  • "Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require." - The Remedy the World Needeth, 36
  • "That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its people in one universal Cause, one common Faith." - Tablets to the Kings, 58
  • "the world is like the vapor in a desert, which the thirsty dreameth to be water and striveth after it with all his might, until when he cometh unto it, he findeth it to be mere illusion." - Tablet to the People, 68
  • "All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. The Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man." - An Ever-Advancing Civilization, 114
  • "Forget your own selves, and turn your eyes towards your neighbor. Bend your energies to whatever may foster the education of men." - The Flood of Grace, 126
  • "Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station." - True Liberty, 137
  • "O Son of Man! Should prosperity befall thee, rejoice not, and should abasement come upon thee, grieve not, for both shall pass away and be no more." - The Hidden Words, 162
  • "Languages must be reduced to one, and that one language must be taught in all the schools of the world." - Tablet of the World, 176
  • "Although a republican form of government profits all the people of the world, yet the majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God. We do not wish that the countries of the world should be deprived thereof. If statesmen combine the two into one form, their reward will be great before God." - The Glad-Tidings, 196
  • "Glory is not his who loves his own country, but glory is his who loves his kind." - The Sixth Ishraq, 199
  • "This is the century of new and universal nationhood. Sciences have advanced, industries have progressed, politics have been reformed, liberty has been proclaimed, justice is awakening. This is the century of motion, divine stimulus and accomplishment; the century of human solidarity and altruistic service; the century of Universal Peace and the reality of the divine kingdom." - Religion is Progressive, 228
  • "If religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science they are mere superstitions and imaginations" - Man and Nature, 240
  • "As the rich man enjoys his life surrounded by ease and luxuries, so the poor man must likewise have a home and be provided with sustenance and comforts commensurate with his needs." - Man and Nature, 240
  • "A universal or international House of Justice shall also be organized...This international House of Justice shall be appointed and organized from the Houses of Justice of the whole world, and all the world shall come under its administration." - Teachings of Baha'u'llah, 248
  • "The immortality of the spirit is mentioned in the Holy Books; it is the fundamental basis of the divine religions." - The Immortality of the Spirit, 323

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber

  • "Arguments about who really owes what to whom have played a central role in shaping our basic vocabulary of right and wrong." - 8
  • "it begins to be clear why there are no societies based on barter. Such a society could only be one in which everybody was an inch away from everybody else's throat; but nonetheless hovering there, poised to strike but never actually striking, forever." - 33
  • "there is good reason to believe that barter is not a particularly ancient phenomenon at all, but has only really become widespread in modern times. Certainly in most of the cases we know about, it takes place between people who are familiar with the use of money, but for one reason or another, don't have a lot of it around." - 37
  • "We did not begin with barter, discover money, and then eventually develop credit systems. It happened precisely the other way around. What we now call virtual money came first. Coins came much later, and their use spread only unevenly, never completely replacing credit systems. Barter, in turn, appears to be largely a kind of accidental byproduct of the use of coinage or paper money" - 40
  • Adam "Smith was trying to make a similar, Newtonian argument. God -- or Divine Providence, as he put it -- had arranged matters in such a way that our pursuit of self-interest would nonetheless, given an unfettered market, be guided 'as if by an invisible hand' to promote the general welfare. Smith's famous invisible hand was, as he says in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, the agent of Divine Providence. It was literally the hand of God." - 44
  • "whatever the state was willing to accept, for that reason, became currency." - 49
  • "Keynesian orthodoxy started from the assumption that capitalist markets would not really work unless capitalist governments were willing effectively to play nanny: most famously, by engaging in massive deficit 'pump-priming' during downturns." - 53
  • "Governments use taxes to create money, and they are able to do so because they have become the guardians of the debt that all citizens have to one another. This debt is the essence of society itself. It exists long before money and markets, and money and markets themselves are simply ways of chopping pieces of it up." - 56
  • "If taxes represent our absolute debt to the society that created us, then the first step toward creating real money comes when we start calculating much more specific debts to society, systems of fines, fees, and penalties, or even debts we owe to specific individuals who we have wronged in some way" - 59-60
  • "States created markets. Markets require states. Neither could continue without the other, at least, in anything like the forms we would recognize today." - 71
  • "Redemption was a release from one's burden of sin and guilt, and the end of history would be that moment when all slates are wiped clean and all debts finally lifted....If so, 'redemption' is no longer about buying something back. It's really more a matter of destroying the entire system of accounting." - 82
  • "One might even say that it's one of the scandals of capitalism that most capitalist firms, internally, operate communistically." - 96
  • "Exchange allows us to cancel out our debts. It gives us a way to call it even: hence, to end the relationship." - 104
  • "middle-class society has to be endlessly recreated, as a kind of constant flickering game of shadows, the criss-crossing of an infinity of momentary debt relations, each one almost instantly cancelled out." - 124
  • "historically, war, states, and markets all tend to feed off one another. Conquest leads to taxes. Taxes tend to be ways to create markets, which are convenient for soldiers and administrators." - 179
  • "Rather than institutionalize periodic amnesties, Greek cities tended to adopt legislation limiting or abolishing debt peonage altogether, and then, to forestall future crises, they would turn to a policy of expansion, shipping off the children of the poor to found military colonies overseas." - 187
  • "As much as it flies in the face of our stereotypes about the origins of 'Western' freedoms, women in democratic Athens, unlike those of Persia or Syria, were expected to wear veils when they ventured out in public." - 188
  • "Those who have argued that we are the natural owners of our rights and liberties have been mainly interested in asserting that we should be free to give them away, or even sell them." - 206
  • "Bullion predominates, above all, in periods of generalized violence...Gold and silver coins are distinguished from credit arrangements by one spectacular feature: they can be stolen." - 213
  • "By Medieval standards, India was unusual for resisting the appeal of the great Axial Age religions, but we observe the basic pattern: the decline of empire, armies, and cash economy, the rise of religious authorities, independent of the state, who win much of their popular legitimacy through their ability to regulate emerging credit systems. China might be said to represent the opposite extreme. This was the one place where a late Axial Age attempt to yoke empire and religion together was a complete success." - 258
  • "Over the course of the Middle Ages, the Indian Ocean effectively became a Muslim lake. Muslim traders appear to have played a key role in establishing the principle that kings and their armies should keep their quarrels on dry land; the seas were to be a zone of peaceful commerce." - 277
  • "Italian bankers ultimately managed to free themselves from the threat of expropriation by themselves taking over governments, and by doing so, acquiring their own court systems (capable of enforcing contracts) and even more critically, their own armies." - 291
  • "Aristotle had argued that gold and silver had no intrinsic value in themselves, and that money therefore was just a social convention, invented by human communities to facilitate exchange. Since it had 'come about by agreement, therefore it is within our power to change it or render it useless' if we all decide that that's what we want to do." - 298
  • "The legal idea of a corporation as a 'fictive person' (persona ficta)...was first established in canon law by Pope Innocent IV in 1250 AD, and one of the first kinds of entities it applied to were monasteries -- as also to universities, churches, municipalities, and guilds." - 304
  • "The moment when Vasco de Gama entered the Indian Ocean in 1498, the principle that the seas should be a zone of peaceful trade came to an immediate end. Portuguese flotillas began bombarding and sacking every port city they came across, then seizing control of strategic points and extorting protection money from unarmed Indian Ocean merchants for the right to carry on their business unmolested." - 311
  • "The story of the origins of capitalism, then, is not the story of the gradual destruction of traditional communities by the impersonal power of the market. It is, rather, the story of how an economy of credit was converted into an economy of interest" - 332
  • "Some appealed to alchemy to argue that the monetary status of gold and silver had a natural basis: gold (which partook of the sun) and silver (which partook of the moon) were the perfected, eternal forms of metal toward which all baser metals tend to evolve." - 336-7
  • "It soon became apparent that financial speculation, unmoored from any legal or community restraints, was capable of producing results that seemed to verge on insanity. The Dutch Republic, which pioneered the development of stock markets, had already experienced this in the tulip mania of 1637 -- the first of a series of speculative 'bubbles'" - 341
  • "Almost all the bubbles of the eighteenth century involved some fantastic scheme to use the proceeds of colonial ventures to pay for European wars. Paper money was debt money, and debt money was war money, and this has always remained the case." - 346
  • "there may be a deeper, more profound relation between gambling and apocalypse. Capitalism is a system that enshrines the gambler as the essential part of its operation, in a way that no other ever has; yet at the same time, capitalism seems to be uniquely incapable of conceiving of its own eternity." - 357

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk - Chs. 23-37

Chapter 23 - The Great Russian Advance Begins

  • 1856: "the Second Opium War, the so-called Arrow War, between Britain and Chine...Following their victory, the British had made various demands of the Emperor, to which he had reluctantly agreed. These included the right of European powers to have diplomats residing in Peking, the opening of more ports to foreign trade, and the payment of a huge indemnity to Britain." - 298
  • "the hawks at the top [of Russian bureaucracy] had an unexpected ally in Otto von Bismarck, then Prussian ambassador to St Petersburg, and soon to become his country's chief minister and the architect of the German Empire. Believing that the more the Russians became involved in Asia the less of a threat they would be in Europe, he strongly encouraged them to embark on what he called their 'great civilising mission'." - 301
Chapter 24 - Lion of Tashkent

  • "Cherniaev reasoned that once the imperial flag had been raised over Tashkent the Tsar would be loath to see it hauled down. He therefore recommended that the city should once again become an independent khanate, but from now on under Russian protection." - 311
  • "Looking back now, it is obvious that from the moment General Kaufman took up his new post as Governor-General of Turkestan the days of the independent khanates of Central Asia were numbered." - 314
  • May 2, 1868: "Samarkand was absorbed into the Russian Empire...The capture of this legendary city, with its dazzling architectural splendours, including the tomb of Tamerlane himself, was seen as the settling of an ancient score." - 315
Chapter 25 - Spies Along the Silk Road

  • "Chinese Turkestan, or Sinkiang as it is today called, had long been part of the Chinese Empire. However, the central authorities' hold over it had always been tenuous, for the Muslim population had nothing in common with their Manchu rulers and everything in common with their ethnic cousins in Bokhara, Khokand and Khiva, lying on the far side of the Pamirs." - 321-2
  • "It was at that moment that a remarkable Muslim adventurer named Yakub Beg, claiming direct descent from Tamerlane, arrived on the scene." - 322
Chapter 26 - The Feel of Cold Steel Across His Throat

  • "So it was that the Russians, in a period of just ten years, had annexed a territory half the size of the United States, and erected a defensive barrier across central Asia stretching from the Caucasus in the west to Khokand and Kuldja in the east." - 353
  • "The vast markets for European goods which both the British and the Russians had believed to exist in the region were to prove illusory. It soon became clear, moreover, that Yakub Beg was merely stringing his two powerful neighbors along" - 354
Chapter 27 - A Physician from the North
Chapter 28 - Captain Burnaby's Ride to Khiva
  • "General Stolietov...cautioned the Emir against receiving any British missions, at the same time promising him the support of 30,000 Russian troops if the need arose." - 382
Chapter 29 - Bloodbath at the Bala Hissar
  • After facing 100,000 Afghani tribesmen, the British "decided to offer Abdur Rahman [grandson of Dost Mohammed] the throne. Talks followed, and an agreement was reached. Under the terms of this, the British would withdraw from Kabul, leaving a Muslim agent as their sole representative. In return Abdur Rahman agreed to have no relations with any foreign power other than Britain" - 397
Chapter 30 - The Last Stand of the Turcomans
  • "After an agonised debate, the once-proud Turcomans, for so long the lords of Transcaspia, agreed to surrender their capital [of Merv] and submit to the rule of St Petersburg." - 414
  • "Once again the Russians were gambling on Gladstone's Liberals not going beyond their customary remonstrances on finding themselves confronted by a fait accompli. The announcement [of Merv's submission], however, did not take the British government entirely by surprise, even if it was in no position, with a major crisis on its hands in the Sudan, to do much about it." - 415
Chapter 31 - To the Brink of War
Chapter 32 - The Railway to the East
  • "Work on this line [Transcaspian Railway] had begun in 1880 on the orders of General Skobelev when he was preparing for his advance on Geok-Tepe." - 438
  • George Nathaniel Curzon, a "young and ambitious Tory backbencher", said after travelling along the Railway that Russia's "real objective was not Calcutta but Constantinople. 'To keep England quiet in Europe by keeping her employed in Asia,' he declared, 'That, briefly put, is the sum and substance of Russian policy.'" - 446
Chapter 33 - Where Three Empires Meet
  • "The Tsar's generals had begun to show an alarming interest in that lofty no-man's-land where the Hindu Kush, Pamirs, Karakorams and Himalayas converged, and where three great empires -- those of Britain, Russia and China -- met." - 449
Chapter 34 - Flashpoint in the High Pamirs
Chapter 35 - The Race for Chitral
Chapter 36 - The Beginning of the End
  • "It was to Tibet...that the focus of the Great Game now shifted, as word was received in India that twice within twelve months an emissary from the Dalai Lama had visited St Petersburg, where he had been warmly welcomed by the Tsar." - 505
  • "For many months the Japanese had watched with growing apprehension the Russian military and naval build-up in the Far East...the Japanese High Command decided to do what the British, wisely or otherwise, had never risked doing in Central Asia. This was to meet the Russian threat head on. On February 8, 1904, the Japanese struck without warning. Their target was the great Russian naval base at Port Arthur. The Russo-Japanese War had begun." - 509
Chapter 37 - End-game
  • May 26, 1905: "the two fleets met in the Tsushima Straits, which divide Japan from Korea. The outcome was catastrophic for the Russians. In the space of a few hours they suffered one of the worst defeats in naval history" - 516
  • September 5, 1905: "a peace treaty was signed at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, between the warring parties [, Russia and Japan]. This effectively brought to an end the Tsarist Russia's forward policy in Asia." - 517
  • December 1905: "the Liberals drove the Tories from power. The new Cabinet, headed by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, was genuinely determined to reach a permanent accommodation with the Russians." - 519
  • August 31, 1907: "amid great secrecy, the historic Anglo-Russian Convention was signed in St Petersburg by [Russian Foreign Minister] Count Izvolsky and Sir Arthur Nicolson, the British Ambassador." - 521

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk - Chs. 18-22

Chapter 18 - Night of the Long Knives

  • "In addition to its heavy commitment in Afghanistan, in China the first of the Opium Wars was well into it second year, while nearer to home there were serious troubles brewing with both France and the United States." - 233
  • November 1, 1841: Alexander Burnes is warned by a Kashmiri assistant that "an attempt was to be made on his life that night. It was Burnes whom many Afghans held responsible for bringing the British to Afghanistan" - 239
Chapter 19 - Catastrophe

  • "According to his friend Mohan Lal, Burnes had viewed the situation as anything but tranquil, even if he had gravely underestimated his own personal danger that night. On the previous evening he had declared that 'the time is not very far off when we must leave this country.'" - 245
  • "Mohan Lal was authorised to offer a reward of 10,000 rupees to anyone who succeeded in assassinating one of the principal rebel leaders." - 246
  • "Mohammed Akbar Khan, favourite son of the exiled Dost Mohammed, was on his way from Turkestan to take personal command of what had now become a full-scale insurrection against the British and their puppet ruler." - 247
  • "Whereas it has become apparent from recent events that the continuance of the British Army in Afghanistan for the support of Shah Shujah is displeasing to the great majority of the Afghan nation, and whereas the British Government had no other object in sending troops to this country than the integrity, happiness and welfare of the Afghans, it can have no wish to remain when that object is defeated by its presence." - Mohammed Akbar Khan, 252
Chapter 20 -Massacre in the Passes

  • January 1, 1842: "an agreement was signed with Akbar under which he guaranteed the safety of the departing British, and promised to provide them with an armed escort to protect them from the hostile tribes through whose territories they must pass." - 259
  • "Dr. Brydon was the only one of the 16,000 souls who had left Kabul to complete the terrible course and reach Jalalabad in safety -- and the first, on that fateful thirteenth day of January, 1842, to break the news of the disaster which had overtaken Elphinstone's army to a horrified nation." - 268
Chapter 21 - The Last Hours of Conolly and Stoddart

  • "Far from establishing a friendly rule in Afghanistan to buttress India against Russian encroachments, it had led instead to one of the worst disasters ever to overtake a British army...It was a devastating blow to British pride and prestige." - 270
  • "With Shah Shujah dead, Kabul was now kingless, and Pollock, the senior of the two commanders [who had retaken the city on September 15], who had been invested with political authority by Lord Ellenborough, immediately placed Shujah's son Futteh on the throne, thereby making him too a British puppet." - 275
  • October 11, 1842: the British "hauled down the Union Jack over Bala Hissar, and the next morning the first units marched away from Kabul. The First Afghan War, as historians now call it, was finally over. Within three months Shah Shujah's son had been overthrown, and Dost Mohammed was allowed by the British to return unconditionally to the throne from which he had been removed at such terrible cost...Events had come full circle." - 277
Chapter 22 - Half-time

  • "The Russians pushed forward their line of fortresses across the lawless Kazakh Steppe....The British were even more active during this period of detente. In 1843, following their humiliation in Afghanistan, they had seized Sind -- 'like a bully who has been kicked in the street and goes home to beat his wife in revenge,' observed one critic." - 282
  • March 2, 1855: "as the Russian surrender [in the Crimean War] became inevitable, Tsar Nicholas, whose attack on Turkey had begun the war, sunk deeper and deeper into despair. He finally died in the Winter Palace, from where he had personally commanded the Russian forces...Officially the cause was said to be influenza, but many believed that he had taken poison rather than witness the defeat of his beloved army." - 286
  • October 25, 1856: Herat falls to the Persians - 288
  • August 1858: "in an attempt to resolve the deep resentments and antagonisms which had led to the Mutiny, the British government passed the India Act, abolishing the powers of the [East India] Company and transferring all authority to the Crown." - 291

The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk, Chs. 10-17

Chapter 10 - "The Great Game"
  • January 14, 1831: Lieutenant Arthur Conolly, "British officer in disguise...of the 6th Bengal Native Light Cavalry -- and the first of Lord Ellenborough's young bloods to be reconnoitre the military and political no-man's-land between the Caucasus and the Khyber [Pass]" returns to India; coined the term "Great Game" - 123
  • September 1830: Conolly reaches Herat, "which no British officer had seen since Christie's clandestine visit twenty years earlier" - 128
  • "It was at this moment that Wellington's government fell, taking Ellenborough with it, and the Whigs came to power." - 134
  • January 21, 1831: Lieutenant Alexander Burnes sails from Kutch to see Ranjit Singh - 134
Chapter 11 - Enter "Bokhara" Burnes
  • "A dazzling reception awaited Burnes in Lahore, Ranjit being as anxious to maintain cordial relations with the British as they were anxious to keep on the right side of their powerful Sikh neighbour." - 136
  • Burnes discovers "that the Indus was navigable for flat-bottomed craft," and "it was decided to proceed with plans to open up the great waterway to shipping, so that British goods could eventually compete with Russian ones in Turkestan and elsewhere in Central Asia." - 139
  • February 20, 1833: "just as Burnes arrive in Calcutta to report to the Governor-General on the results of his reconnaissance into Central Asia, a large fleet of Russia warships dropped anchor off Constantinople, causing profound dismay in London and in India. This was the final outcome of a chain of events which had begun in 1831, following a revolt in Egypt...against the Sultan's rule." - 149
Chapter 12 - The Greatest Fortress in the World
  • "Under the terms of a treaty signed in the summer of 1833, Turkey had been little more than a protectorate of the Tsar's." - 154
  • "Not for nothing had one Russian general described the Caucasus as 'the greatest fortress in the world.'" - 155
  • "It was around this time that the Russians began to claim that there were British agents operating among the Circassians, supplying them with arms, advising them and encouraging them to resist. Indeed, in addition to its cargo of salt, they alleged that the Vixen had been found to be carrying weapons intended for the rebellious tribesmen." - 158
  • "As the arch-Russophobe of the day...he [Urquhart] had done much to turn British public opinion against St Petersburg, and to deepen the growing rift between the two powers. Indeed, the modern Soviet historians lay some of the blame for today's problems in the Caucasus on British interference in the region" - 161-2
  • Lord Durham said, "The power of Russia had been greatly exaggerated....There is not one element of strength which is not directly counterbalanced by a corresponding...weakness....In fact her power is solely of the defensive kind. Leaning on and covered by the impregnable fortress with which nature has endowed her -- her climate and her deserts -- she is invincible, as Napoleon discovered to his cost." - 162
  • "within a very short time of his arrival in Persia [Sir John McNeill, new Minister to Teheran], the Russians began to make shadowy moves towards Herat and Kabul, the two principle gateways leading to British India. The Great Game was about to enter a new and more dangerous phase." - 164
Chapter 13 - The Mysterious Vitkevich
  • "it was no secret in Teheran that it was he [Count Simonich] who had urged the Shah to march on Herat, which Persia had long claimed, and wrest it" - 166
  • "All of a sudden Kabul too was at risk. If [Captain Yan] Vitkevich was successful in winning over Dost Mohammed, then the Russians would have succeeded, in one spectacular leap, in clearing the formidable barriers of desert, mountain and hostile tribes which lay between themselves and British India." - 167
  • "Ever since the collapse of the great Durrani empire, which had been founded by Ahmad Shah in the middle of the eighteenth century, Afghanistan had been at the centre of an intense and unceasing struggle for power." - 167-8
  • "Addressing Dost Mohammad as though he was a naughty schoolboy, and instructing him on whom he might or might not have dealings with, Auckland [Governor-General of India] offered him nothing in return besides Britain's vague goodwill. Despite his anger, however, Dost Mohammed managed to keep his composure, still evidently hopeful that the British could be won round" to returning Peshawar to him - 171
Chapter 14 - Hero of Herat
  • August 18, 1837: "His skin darkened with dye, and posing as a Muslim holy man, Lieutenant Eldred Pottinger...entered Herat on a routine Great Game reconnaissance....Aged 26, and the nephew of that veteran of the game Colonel Henry Pottinger, he had been sent into Afghanistan to gather intelligence." - 175
  • "in the Persian camp, Count Simonich cast aside any remaining pretence of being there simply as a diplomatic observer and personally took over direction of the faltering siege" of Herat - 181
Chapter 15 - The Kingmakers
  • "Having thus forced the Russians and Persians to back off, the British might have been well advised to leave it at that. But from the moment that Dost Mohammed spurned Lord Auckland's ultimatum, and officially received Vitkevich, he was considered in London and Calcutta to have thrown in his lot with the was decided that he must be forcibly removed from his throne and replaced by someone more compliant." - 188
  • June 1838: "a secret agreement was signed by Ranjit Singh, [Shah] Shujah and Great Britain, swearing eternal friendship and giving approval to the plan" to replace Dost Mohammad with Shujah - 190
  • October 1, 1838: "Auckland issued the so-called Simla Manifesto in which he made public Britain's intention of forcibly removing Dost Mohammed from the throne and replacing him with Shujah. In justification of this, Dost Mohammed was portrayed as an untrustworthy villain...and Shujah as a loyal friend" - 190
  • "To occupy Afghanistan would not only be prohibitively expensive...but it would also push the Persians even further into the welcoming arms of the Russians. The Duke of Wellington for one was strongly against it, warning that where the military successes ended the political difficulties would begin." - 192
  • June 30, 1839: after taking Ghazni, "Keane resumed his march, and a week later, opposed only by a line of abandoned cannon, the British appeared before the walls of Kabul. Dost Mohammed, they found, had fled, and the capital surrendered without a shot being fired." - 200
Chapter 16 - The Race for Khiva
  • "in the coming years 'scientific expeditions' were frequently to serve as covers for Russian Great Game activities, while the British preferred to send their officers...on 'shooting leave', thus enabling them to be disowned if necessary." - 204
  • December 24, 1839: Captain James Abbott sets off for Khiva, it being his responsibility "to convince the Khan of the urgent need to jettison the slaves before Perovsky advanced too far to turn back." - 205
  • February 1, 1840: "the [Russian] general gave orders for the exhausted and depleted columns to turn about and head back to Orenburg." - 208
  • "Few in Britain or India were willing to see that it was largely panic over Britain's own forward move in Afghanistan which had driven St Petersburg into such precipitate action over Khiva." - 210
Chapter 17 - The Freeing of the Slaves
  • "Until news of Eldred Pottinger's role in Herat's defense reached Khiva, few if any Khivans had ever heard of them....Many believed them merely to be a sub-tribe, or a vassal state, of the Russians." - 213
  • "Accompanied by a number of Russian slaves...[Abbott] was to proceed to...St Petersburg where he would negotiate on Khan's behalf the return of the rest of the slaves. These would be freed if the Tsar agreed to abandon all military operations against Khiva and to return the Khivan hostages held at Orenburg." - 217
  • August 3, 1840: Lieutenant Richmond Shakespear, sent to Khiva after lack of word from Abbott, records, "The Khan...has made over to me all the Russian prisoners, and I am to take them to a Russian fort on the eastern shore of the Caspian." - 222
  • November 3, 1840: "Shakespear arrived in St Petersburg en route for London...It was no secret in court circles...that privately the Tsar was infuriated by the young British officer's unsolicited but now widely published act. For just as Shakespear's superiors had hoped, it effectively removed any excuse which St Petersburg might have had for advancing again on Khiva" - 227